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A Brief Idea of Pecans - Articles Surfing
The Pecans or Carya Illinoinensis belongs to the hickory family and is native to various regions in the south central parts of North America. In America it is commonly found through western Kentucky, Southern Iowa, Western Tennessee, and In the South it is found in Okalahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
The Pecan Tree
It is a deciduous tree, large in size that generally has a height between 20-40 m and a trunk that has diameter of around 2 m. The leaves of the tree are 40-70 m long alternately and at the pinnate level the leaves have around 9-17 leaflets. The flowers of the tree are wind pollinated and there are around six flowers that form a cluster. The fruit of this tree is an oblong or oval nut which is essentially the core element of the tree that offers the thin-shelled nut, when it becomes mature.
The Birth of the Pecan as a Food Product
The earliest known instance of Pecans being known to Europeans was when Spanish explorer Cabeza De Vaca wrote about this plant way back in the 16 century. It was during this time that that the Pecans were brought to Africa, Europe, and Asia, by the Spaniards. As can be imagined, no sooner was this nut introduced to the various cultures; then it began to be used eaten in its various forms. However, the most common form of eating the nut was fresh and not as a part of a dish. The Pecans have a rich buttery flavor and thus it began to be used in sweet desserts and also many other delicacies. One such delicacy that has become very famous is the pecan pie which is a very southern US delicacy. Also, if you are a resident of the United States, there is no doubt that you have heard about the famous Praline candy of the New Orleans; well this nut is a major ingredient of that candy.
There was time when Pecans grew wild. But over time, it was domesticated and now is one of the domesticated major crops in the area where it is found traditionally. It was not until the 1880s that this nut started growing commercially in the United States. It comes as no wonder that it is the United States that produces around 80% to 90% of the pecans grown in the world. If you see the historical figures then it's Georgia that produces the most pecans and is followed by States like Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The best part about the pecan trees is the fact that they can produce edible nuts for as long as 300 years and are self compatible.
Benefits Apart From Great Taste
Like almost all nuts, even pecans have their health benefits and are a wonderful source of protein and unsaturated fats. As far as women are concerned a diet rich in these nuts could go a long way in lowering the risk of gallstones. High cholesterol levels are reduced by the intake of pecans as they contain various plant sterols and antioxidants.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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